Lexicographer Job Description

Lexicographers Write, Compile And Edit Dictionaries For Both Print And Online Publication. They May Work On One Of The Following Types Of Dictionary:
  • bilingual, For Native Speakers Or Learners Of English.
  • English For Native Speakers;
  • technical, e.g. Law;
  • English For Learners Of English;

English Language Lexicographers Monitor And Record Uses Of Language And Use Databases To Interrogate A Wide Range Of Evidence. They Consider Both The Meaning And Usages Of Words And Compile Definitions In A Structured Manner.

Lexicographers Writing Definitions For English Learner Dictionaries Also Take Into Consideration The Difficulties Learners Have With Learning English. Bilingual Lexicographers Translate Words And Expressions, Rather Than Defining Them.

Lexicographers Edit, Proofread And Check The Accuracy Of Their Own And Others' Text, And Perform Editorial Tasks. They Reassess Existing Entries And Use Evidence And Judgement To Identify And Consider Possible New Entries.

Lexicographer Duties/Functions/Responsibilities

  • checking and proofreading text;
  • compiling new and reviewing existing definitions in strict accordance with previously agreed protocols;
  • writing advertising copy about specific titles for use in catalogues and brochures;
  • identifying new words that are in common usage for inclusion in the dictionary.

Additional daily tasks of a bilingual lexicographer include:

  • writing grammatical and/or cultural supplements included in some editions of translation dictionaries;
  • constructing 'help pages' to include pictures and labels, e.g. listing the parts of a computer;
  • translating words and expressions in both directions, e.g. from English to French and from French to English;
  • discussing and resolving problematic translations with native-speaking editors;
  • conducting market research with book retailers, students and teachers.
  • using judgement to assess which meaning of a word is the primary (most used) meaning, which meanings are secondary or less commonly used, and in which order the meanings should be ranked;
  • monitoring and recording changes in the use of words and phrases that have been noticed in the course of day-to-day life.
  • using specialist databases comprising thousands of pieces of language from a wide range of sources, including literature, newspapers and transcripts of television and radio. This body of language is known as the 'corpus';
  • checking the corpus for evidence of meanings and usages of a word or phrase;

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